When we are planning our trips we are always looking for places which are not so well promoted in the books.
We are searching for special places, which are not occupied by hundreds of tourists but which are worth to visit. We like to inspire other travellers to go extra mile and discover extraordinary places and do amazing trips which are not in the usual travel guides.
Once Vlad (my life and travel partner) found found randomly on the map, a medieval castle which seemed to be very interesting so it was a must to see for us.
Moated Bodiam castle was built in 14th century and is located near Robertsbridge in East Sussex, England. We got there easily by bus number 349 from Hastings, Harold Place stop (read more about our trip to Hastings here). The jurney took approximately one hour and bus stop was just by the castle area. If you are comming by car, large parking place by the castle is available for small fee.
You can download the map with more information here (on the right side, click on property map).
This day, we were really “lucky”, because on the way there, bus was delayed for 30 minutes and on the way back it was about one hour delay! But don´t worry, it was just an exeption, because something happend on the road and it caused this all day log delay. So if your bus is not comming on time, don´t worry, it will come later for sure 😀 (Tip: There is a pub just in front of the bus station and it has a terrace. You can enjoy a drink while waiting for the bus.)
As we are tea lovers, our first steps lead us to the lovely Wharf tea room by the castle. Cozy place with friendly stuff. Except tea, you can also get there some nice, home cooked meals, sandwiched, lemonades, coffee and other refreshments. When there is nice weather outside, they serve food and baverages also at summer garden by the river. You can meet there ducks and swans but we asure you, they are very friendly. 😀
By the tea room, there is a castle souvenir shop where you can find wide range of products to buy for yourself or as a present . Also local natural cosmetics, woven blankets and pottery was very interesting for us, because we try to support local and natural products wherever we go. We love sending postcards to our friends and relatives, we bought there very nice ones.
After cup of tea, we collected tickets for the castle, it was 8,20 £ per adult. Although Vlad tried to pretend he is a kid, office lady charged him full entrance fee 😀 How unfair she was to him 😀 You can find more information about entrance fee here.
Bodiam castle is surrounded by moat and we were so surprised about the number of carps in the water. And what a size of those fish! Because we are both fishermen, we had some professional interest there 😀
Just in front of the bridge (what is the only entrance to the castle), there is a herb garden, what is held by volunteer Jan Black. Learn a bit about herbs which are using for cooking, household or medicine and healing. There was no pharmacy in medieval days, so knowledge of power of herbs was very important.
When we entered into the castle, we were welcome by lady and gentleman dressed in medieval clothes.
They checked the tickets and gave us some information and instruction how to enjoy the visite as much as possible. Castle itself is just ruin, so don´t expect nicely decorated rooms and interior. Biggest part of the castle don´t exist anymore. But you can get an image of castle thanks to information boards.
We climbed up a spiral staircases and entered few chambers. Castle has now 3 floors open for visitors. This staircase is not recomended for elderly people because you really “climb” the staircase. But once you are there, you can make your own image how the life looked like in medieval days. Castle is moated, so I am sure, it was wet and cold in rooms, but they had fireplace in every chamber. I hope it helped against the water and wind around. In two chambers we found replicas of medieval toilets. Ofcourse we had to give them a try…just joking. 😀
Suddenly we heard something. It sounds like bell is ringing. And really! Medieval lady was walking through courtyard, ringing big bell and calling for everyone to join her for Feast at Bodiam castle talk. We all sat down where once Great Hall was situated and she starts her talk. It was very interesting, sometimes funny and sometimes also bit disgusting. Those medieval people had such strange habits.
5 interesting things about medieval feasting:
- Peacock was mentioned to be served to the most important people (king, queen, etc). Although peacock was not very tasty, they served it in amazing way. Cooks gently took away all feathers from peacock, then cooked it and then they put all feathrs back to peacock. Voala – peacock served in the most interesting way is on the table.
- Medieval people were eating mostly by hands, so it was very smart to bring your own knife and spoon. They brought it bounded to their belts and covered under coats.
- It was not allowed to left the table during feast. So what to do when you need to make a pee? Just raise your left hand (because with right hand you are eating) and servant came to you with big pot. He placed the pot under the table and you just made a loo (if you are man is easy…how women did this I can not imagine 😀 ) When you finish, servant come again and take away the pot. Enjoy the dinner! 😀
- You were eating by hands and for sure, you were pretty dirty after such feast and it is not allowed to left the table and wash your hands. Because you are lady or gentleman, you are not gonna wipe your hands into your coat or skirt. So what will you do? You will raise your right hand and servant will come with bowl of warm water and towel. You can nicely wash your hands and wipe them in the end. See? This tradition valid even nowadays in some restaurants.
- Sometimes happend that you ate something you didn´t like very much. So what to do now? You can not spit it on the table nor on the floor. Nothing like throwing bones to the dogs did not exist those days – it is only in movies. So they did it simply. Their coats had wide sleeves and they just spit everything into the sleeve.
Somehow I am very happy for the way we eat now 😀
I hope you will go and visit Bodiam castle too. We had very good and inspiring time there!